Thursday, 12 December 2013

THE FIGHTING IRISH.


DOING TIME COLONIAL STYLE. Source: flickr.com 

Daniel Geary, son of Michael Geary. A wild, wild colonial boy. Daniel was so at odds with authority that he probably punched the midwife who delivered him. Daniel was born fighting. A true fighting Irishman.

Things were not helped much when he married a Bridget McLucas in the 1820s. She had a very interesting pedigree. Bridget like Daniel was born in the colony and also descended from convicts. The McLucas family were renowned in the colony as a family of thieves. They were also not shy in assaulting the police.  Sometimes I feel I’m descended from Australia’s first criminal family. Hold on, it does get worse.

In an altercation with a Thomas Campbell, Daniel Geary pulled a gun and shot him. Campbell survived but Daniel was sentenced to life for attempted murder. It looked like it was all over for Daniel. Poor Bridget was left behind with three children to raise in a state of dire poverty. Now this is something that the authorities don’t do anymore. Bridget petitioned the Governor (the Guv ran the colony) asking if she could join her husband in prison as she had no means to support herself. The Governor approved. So Bridget and the three kids soon joined Daniel in prison.
CONVICTS. Source: smh.com.au
However, that didn’t stop Daniel Geary escaping. He escaped several times. Maybe Daniel wanted to get away from the missus and the screaming kids. But he was recaptured and labelled a “notorious character”. But the Geary family had connections because in 1824 Daniel had been released and was working for a John McArthur, son of James McArthur, the colony’s richest man and the founder of the wool industry (Australia is the world’s leading producer of wool). 

Again there is another change of fortune. One right out of left field. Geary became a police officer constable and was posted to Bathurst (an inland town from Sydney). He’s swapped sides? The reason for the change of sides is that a convict would have their sentence markedly reduced if they became a police officer ( too many convicts, not enough lawmen) . Constable Geary would be soon putting his life on the line. In 1830, fifty convicts rebelled and were roaming the district killing and burning. They had to be stopped.

Strangely, it was a rebellion that started when the subsequent leader of the rebellion was caught bathing nude in a creek. All will be revealed in my next blog.